West eyes recolonization of Africa by endless war; removing Gaddafi was just first step

Dan Glazebrook
Dan Glazebrook is a freelance political writer who has written for RT, Counterpunch, Z magazine, the Morning Star, the Guardian, the New Statesman, the Independent and Middle East Eye, amongst others. His first book “Divide and Ruin: The West’s Imperial Strategy in an Age of Crisis” was published by Liberation Media in October 2013. It featured a collection of articles written from 2009 onwards examining the links between economic collapse, the rise of the BRICS, war on Libya and Syria and ‘austerity’. He is currently researching a book on US-British use of sectarian death squads against independent states and movements from Northern Ireland and Central America in the 1970s and 80s to the Middle East and Africa today.
West eyes recolonization of Africa by endless war; removing Gaddafi was just first step
Exactly six years ago, on October 20th, 2011, Muammar Gaddafi was murdered, joining a long list of African revolutionaries martyred by the West for daring to dream of continental independence.

Earlier that day, Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte had been occupied by Western-backed militias, following a month-long battle during which NATO and its ‘rebel’ allies pounded the city’s hospitals and homes with artillery, cut off its water and electricity, and publicly proclaimed their desire to ‘starve [the city] into submission’. The last defenders of the city, including Gaddafi, fled Sirte that morning, but their convoy was tracked and strafed by NATO jets, killing 95 people. Gaddafi escaped the wreckage but was captured shortly afterward. I will spare you the gruesome details, which the Western media gloatingly broadcast across the world as a triumphant snuff movie, suffice to say that he was tortured and eventually shot dead.

We now know, if testimony from NATO’s key Libyan ally Mahmoud Jibril is to be believed, it was a foreign agent, likely French, who delivered the fatal bullet. His death was the culmination of not only seven months of NATO aggression, but of a campaign against Gaddafi and his movement, the West had been waging for over three decades.

Yet it was also the opening salvo in a new war – a war for the militarily recolonization of Africa.

The year 2009, two years before Gaddafi’s murder, was a pivotal one for US-African relations. First, because China overtook the US as the continent’s largest trading partner; and second because Gaddafi was elected president of the African Union.

The significance of both for the decline of US influence on the continent could not be clearer. While Gaddafi was spearheading attempts to unite Africa politically, committing serious amounts of Libyan oil wealth to make this dream a reality, China was quietly smashing the West’s monopoly over export markets and investment finance. Africa no longer had to go cap-in-hand to the IMF for loans, agreeing to whatever self-defeating terms were on offer, but could turn to China – or indeed Libya – for investment. And if the US threatened to cut them off from their markets, China would happily buy up whatever was on offer. Western economic domination of Africa was under threat as never before.

The response from the West, of course, was a military one. Economic dependence on the West – rapidly being shattered by Libya and China – would be replaced by a new military dependence. If African countries would no longer come begging for Western loans, export markets, and investment finance, they would have to be put in a position where they would come begging for Western military aid.

To this end, AFRICOM – the US army’s new ‘African command’ – had been launched the previous year, but humiliatingly for George W. Bush, not a single African country would agree to host its HQ; instead, it was forced to open shop in Stuttgart, Germany. Gaddafi had led African opposition to AFRICOM, as exasperated US diplomatic memos later revealed by WikiLeaks made clear. And US pleas to African leaders to embrace AFRICOM in the ‘fight against terrorism’ fell on deaf ears.

After all, as Mutassim Gaddafi, head of Libyan security, had explained to Hillary Clinton in 2009, North Africa already had an effective security system in place, through the African Union’s ‘standby forces,’ on the one hand, and CEN-SAD on the other. CEN-SAD was a regional security organization of Sahel and Saharan states, with a well-functioning security system, with Libya as the lynchpin. The sophisticated Libyan-led counter-terror structure meant there was simply no need for a US military presence. The job of Western planners, then, was to create such a need.

NATO’s destruction of Libya simultaneously achieved three strategic goals for the West’s plans for military expansion in Africa. Most obviously, it removed the biggest obstacle and opponent of such expansion, Gaddafi himself. With Gaddafi gone, and with a quiescent pro-NATO puppet government in charge of Libya, there was no longer any chance that Libya would act as a powerful force against Western militarism. Quite the contrary – Libya’s new government was utterly dependent on such militarism and knew it.
Secondly, NATO’s aggression served to bring about a total collapse of the delicate but effective North African security system, which had been underpinned by Libya. And finally, NATO’s annihilation of the Libyan state effectively turned the country over to the region’s death squads and terror groups. These groups were then able to loot Libya’s military arsenals and set up training camps at their leisure, using these to expand operations right across the region.

It is no coincidence that almost all of the recent terror attacks in North Africa – not to mention Manchester – have been either prepared in Libya or perpetrated by fighters trained in Libya. Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, ISIS, Mali’s Ansar Dine, and literally dozens of others, have all greatly benefited from the destruction of Libya.

By ensuring the spread of terror groups across the region, the Western powers had magically created a demand for their military assistance which hitherto did not exist. They had literally created a protection racket for Africa.

In an excellent piece of research published last year, Nick Turse wrote how the increase in AFRICOM operations across the continent has correlated precisely with the rise in terror threats. Its growth, he said, has been accompanied by “increasing numbers of lethal terror attacks across the continent including those in Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Tunisia.

In fact, data from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland shows that attacks have spiked over the last decade, roughly coinciding with AFRICOM’s establishment. In 2007, just before it became an independent command, there were fewer than 400 such incidents annually in sub-Saharan Africa. Last year, the number reached nearly 2,000. By AFRICOM’s own official standards, of course, this is a demonstration of a massive failure. Viewed from the perspective of the protection racket, however, it is a resounding success, with US military power smoothly reproducing the conditions for its own expansion.

This is the Africa policy Trump has now inherited. But because this policy has rarely been understood as the protection racket it really is, many commentators have, as with so many of Trump’s policies, mistakenly believed he is somehow ‘ignoring’ or ‘reversing’ the approach of his predecessors. In fact, far from abandoning this approach, Trump is escalating it with relish.

What the Trump administration is doing, as it is doing in pretty much every policy area, is stripping the previous policy of its ‘soft power’ niceties to reveal and extend the iron fist which has in fact been in the driving seat all along. Trump, with his open disdain for Africa, has effectively ended US development aid for Africa – slashing overall African aid levels by one third, and transferring responsibility for much of the rest from the Agency for International Development to the Pentagon – while openly tying aid to the advancement of “US national security objectives.”

‘US has enough roles’:  not interested in  nation-building

Read more: https://on.rt.com/89ft 

In other words, the US has made a strategic decision to drop the carrot in favor of the stick. Given the overwhelming superiority of Chinese development assistance, this is unsurprising. The US has decided to stop trying to compete in this area, and instead to ruthlessly and unambiguously pursue the military approach which the Bush and Obama administrations had already mapped out.

To this end, Trump has stepped up drone attacks, removing the (limited) restrictions that had been in place during the Obama era. The result has been a ramping up of civilian casualties, and consequently of the resentment and hatred which fuels militant recruitment. It is unlikely to be a coincidence, for example, that the al Shabaab truck bombing that killed over 300 people in Mogadishu last weekend was carried out by a man from a town in which had suffered a major drone attack on civilians, including women and children, in August.

Indeed, a detailed study by the United Nations recently concluded that in “a majority of cases, state action appears to be the primary factor finally pushing individuals into violent extremism in Africa.” Of more than 500 former members of militant organizations interviewed for the report, 71 percent pointed to “government action,” including “killing of a family member or friend” or “arrest of a family member or friend” as the incident that prompted them to join a group. And so the cycle continues: drone attacks breed recruitment, which produces further terror attacks, which leaves the states involved more dependent on US military support. Thus does the West create the demand for its own ‘products.’

It does so in another way as well. Alexander Cockburn, in his book ‘Kill Chain,’ explains how the policy of ‘targeted killings’ – another Obama policy ramped up under Trump – also increases the militancy of insurgent groups. Cockburn, reporting on a discussion with US soldiers about the efficacy of targeted killings, wrote that: “When the topic of conversation came round to ways of defeating the [roadside] bombs, everyone was in agreement. They would have charts up on the wall showing the insurgent cells they were facing, often with the names and pictures of the guys running them,” Rivolo remembers. “When we asked about going after the high-value individuals and what effect it was having, they’d say, ‘Oh yeah, we killed that guy last month, and we’re getting more IEDs than ever.’ They all said the same thing, point blank: ‘[O]nce you knock them off, a day later you have a new guy who’s smarter, younger, more aggressive and is out for revenge.”’

Alex de Waal has written how this is certainly true in Somalia, where, he says, “each dead leader is followed by a more radical deputy. After a failed attempt in January 2007, the US killed Al Shabaab’s commander, Aden Hashi Farah Ayro, in a May 2008 air strike. Ayro’s successor, Ahmed Abdi Godane (alias Mukhtar Abu Zubair), was worse, affiliating the organization with Al-Qaeda. The US succeeded in assassinating Godane in September 2014. In turn, Godane was succeeded by an even more determined extremist, Ahmad Omar (Abu Ubaidah). It was presumably Omar who ordered the recent attack in Mogadishu, the worst in the country’s recent history. If targeted killing remains a central strategy of the War on Terror”, De Waal wrote, “it is set to be an endless war.”

But endless war is the whole point. For not only does it force African countries, finally freeing themselves from dependence on the IMF, into dependence on AFRICOM; it also undermines China’s blossoming relationship with Africa.

Chinese trade and investment in Africa continues to grow apace. According to the China-Africa Research Initiative at John Hopkins University, Chinese FDI stocks in Africa had risen from just two percent of the value of US stocks in 2003 to 55 percent in 2015, when they totaled $35 billion. This proportion is likely to rapidly increase, given that “Between 2009 and 2012, China’s direct investment in Africa grew at an annual rate of 20.5 percent, while levels of US FDI flows to Africa declined by $8 billion in the wake of the global financial crisis”. Chinese-African trade, meanwhile, topped $200 billion in 2015.

China’s signature ‘One Belt One Road’ policy – to which President Xi Jinping has pledged $124 billion to create global trade routes designed to facilitate $2 trillion worth of annual trade – will also help to improve African links with China. Trump’s policy toward the project was summarised by Steve Bannon, his ideological mentor, and former chief strategist in just eight words: “Let’s go screw up One Belt One Road.” The West’s deeply destabilizing Africa policy – of simultaneously creating the conditions for armed groups to thrive while offering protection against them – goes some way toward realizing this ambitious goal. Removing Gaddafi was just the first step.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Courtesy: RT

Sean Hannity: The real list of reasons Hillary lost

Sean Hannity

Hillary Clinton was all smiles at the release of her new book, but the failed presidential candidate should be anything but happy, because the book, titled “What Happened,” is full of excuses, lies and fake news.

Crooked Hillary, as President Trump calls her, is in complete denial about why she actually lost the election. My colleague and friend, Gregg Jarrett, has put together a list of 32 reasons Clinton has given for why she lost. And the list grows and grows and grows as Clinton blames everyone and everything but herself and her terrible campaign for her defeat.

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White supremacists, voter ID laws, James Comey, Bernie Sanders, Facebook, Russia, WikiLeaks.

“And then let’s not forget sexism and misogyny, which are endemic to our society,” Clinton told CBS on its “Sunday Morning” show.

There is an alternative list of reasons for Clinton’s humiliating loss to President Trump. Topping it is the secret email server, on which she illegally sent and received sensitive government information makes the real list of reasons why she lost.

Clinton’s team deleted 33,000 emails using BleachBit — in other words, acid wash — after being served with a congressional subpoena. An aide also smashed those old mobile devices with a hammer. Can’t get the emails from there. Just as bad, members of the Clintons’ legal team did give the FBI Blackberries, but those Blackberries didn’t have SIM cards in them, rendering them meaningless.

Comey didn’t hurt her on this issue, he covered for her.

Also on the list is the crooked work of the Clinton Foundation, which took millions and millions of dollars from countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE and others – countries that treat women, gays, lesbians, Christians and Jews horribly.

Then there was the Uranium One deal, in which Hillary Clinton was one of nine people to approve the transfer of up to 20 percent of America’s uranium — the foundational material for nuclear weapons – to the Russians. The folks who profited from that deal ended up kicking back as much as $145 million to the Clinton Foundation.

And what about Hillary’s vow to put coal miners out of work and her refusal to campaign in states hard hit by the Obama economy?

Clinton’s own list of excuses is as pathetic as she is delusional. She can’t come to grips with the reality that she was a terrible candidate with no message, no vision for the American people.

The real reason she lost? Americans chose wisely on Nov. 8.

Adapted from Sean Hannity’s monologue on “Hannity,” Sept. 12, 2017

Sean Hannity currently serves as host of FOX News Channel’s (FNC) Hannity (weekdays 10-11PM/ET). He joined the network in 1996 and is based in New York. Click here for more information on Sean Hannity.

Courtesy, Fox News

CIA chief Pompeo brands WikiLeaks a ‘hostile’ spy agency

The director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, has branded WikiLeaks a “hostile intelligence agency,” claiming it represents a threat to US national security. The group has been accused of swaying the 2016 presidential election.

USA Mike Pompeo in Washington (picture-alliance/AP Photo/P. Martinez Monsivais)

In his first public speech since being appointed as CIA chief, Pompeo on Thursday said WikiLeaks was often abetted by other countries, adding that the group had “no moral compass.”

He claimed that – rather than opposing dictators and autocratic regimes – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was guilty of siding with them.

“WikiLeaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service,” Pompeo said.

“I am quite confident that had Assange been around in the 30s, and the 40s and the 50s, he would have found himself on the wrong side of history. We know this because Assange and his ilk make common cause with dictators today.”

Read: Seven ways to keep the CIA out of your home

Pompeo said that while WikiLeaks claimed to be a champion of freedom, its members were more interested in their public profile.

“They try unsuccessfully to cloak themselves and their actions in the language of liberty and privacy, but in reality, they champion nothing but their own celebrity. Their currency is click bait. Their moral compass – non existent.”

Red faces for US officials

Last month, WikiLeaks published almost 8,000 documents saying they revealed secrets about CIA cyber espionage tools. Previously, it released 250,000 State Department cables and embarrassed the US military with logs from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Watch video02:16

WikiLeaks dump exposes CIA eavesdropping

US intelligence agencies claim Democratic emails released by WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential campaign had originally been hacked by Russia to swing the election against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton – in favor of Republican Donald Trump. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has denied that the release was intended to influence the election.

Before the November election, Trump said he was happy to see WikiLeaks publish private and politically damaging emails from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta.

Assange, from Australia, has been taking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, after allegations of rape in Sweden, which he denies. Assange claims the proceedings are being used as a pretext to allow for his extradition to the US.

rc/bw (AFP, AP Reuters)

 

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House Democrat says Trump may have leaked government secrets

A remark that President Trump made to Fox News on Wednesday isn’t sitting well with the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, who is now suggesting that the commander-in-chief’s comments, if true, could be compared to the actions of government leakers.

In an exclusive interview with Fox’s Tucker Carlson on Wednesday night, President Trump suggested “the CIA was hacked and a lot of things were taken.” He added “that was during the Obama years. That was not during us.”

The president may have been referring to the recent publishing of what are alleged to be CIA documents and hacking tools by the website WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claims that the leaks are real, and highlight what he calls the “devastating incompetence” of the agency’s cybersecurity. The CIA has yet to confirm whether the materials are, in fact, authentic.

On Thursday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, took serious issue with the president’s suggestion that the agency was hacked. And Schiff says that, if true, the president’s comments are akin to the actions of those who leak government secrets.

WHITE HOUSE OFFICIALS STAND BY TRUMP WIRETAPPING CLAIM

“It would be one thing if the president’s statements were the product of intelligence community discussion and a purposeful decision to disclose information to the public, but that is unlikely to be the case,” Schiff said in a statement.

He added that while he thinks “the president has the power to declassify whatever he wants… this should be done as the product of thoughtful consideration and with intense input from any agency affected. For anyone else to do what the president may have done, would constitute what he deplores as ‘leaks.'”

A Fox News poll released Wednesday shows a record 73 percent of voters have confidence in the CIA, up from 67 percent in December.

In recent weeks, the president has made clear his distaste for leakers. On February 24, the president lamented on Twitter that “the FBI is totally unable to stop the national security ‘leakers’ that have permeated our government for a long time… Classified information is being given to media that could have a devastating effect.”

Critics point to his support for WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign as evidence to the contrary. “I love WikiLeaks,” then-nominee Trump said during campaign remarks in October.

The investigation into possible CIA hacking isn’t the only thing over which Schiff seems to be at odds with Trump. On Wednesday, Schiff and House Intel Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) repeated their assertions that they have yet to see any evidence that supports the president’s claim that Trump Tower was the subject of wiretapping.

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And on Thursday, the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee took that assertion one step further, suggesting in a statement that they have seen no evidence that Trump Tower was under surveillance “by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016.”

In a March 4 tweet, the president suggested that “Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory.” When asked on Wednesday why he didn’t withhold comment until he had proof of his claim, President Trump told Tucker Carlson “don’t forget, when I say wiretapped, those words were in quotes… [T]hat really covers surveillance and many other things. And nobody ever talks about the fact that was in quotes, but that’s a very important thing.”

How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!

New Fox polling also suggests that 76 percent of voters think President Trump should produce documents to back his claim about the wiretaps. That includes 63 percent of Republicans and 70 percent of independents.

The Department of Justice has until Monday to comply with an order from the House Intelligence Committee to gather evidence related to President Trump’s surveillance claim, though Rep. Nunes suggests he expects some of that evidence on Friday.

Monday is also when the committee expects to hold its first open hearing on Russia’s interference in the 2016 race and possible contacts between Trump associates and Russia. FBI Director Comey is expected to face direct questioning at that hearing, and it isn’t just the House that’s looking for answers.

Senator Lindsay Graham suggested earlier this week that subpoenas aren’t out of the question if lawmakers don’t get the information they’re looking for.

“Congress,” Graham said, “is going to flex its muscles.”

Connecting Trump’s Dots to Russia

I enjoyed the show “House of Cards” but always felt that it went a bit too far, that its plot wasn’t plausible. After seven weeks of President Trump, I owe “House of Cards” an apology. Nothing seems impossible any more.

That includes the most towering suspicion of all: that Trump’s team colluded in some way with Russia to interfere with the U.S. election. This is the central issue that we must remain focused on.

There are a lot of dots here, and the challenge is how to connect them. Be careful: Democrats should avoid descending into the kind of conspiratorial mind-set that led some Republicans to assume Hillary Clinton was a criminal about to be indicted or to conjure sex slaves belonging to her in a Washington pizza restaurant. Coincidences happen, and I think there has been too much focus on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, not enough on Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign manager. Here are 10 crucial dots:

1. President Trump and his aides have repeatedly and falsely denied ties to Russia. USA Today counted at least 20 denials. In fact, we now know that there were contacts by at least a half-dozen people in the Trump circle with senior Russian officials.

2. There’s no obvious reason for all these contacts. When Vice President Mike Pence was asked on Jan. 15 if there had been contacts between the Trump campaign and Kremlin officials, he answered: “Of course not. Why would there be?” We don’t know either, Mr. Vice President.

Photo

Trump protesters at a rally in New York in February. CreditHiroko Masuike/The New York Times

3. There were unexplained communications between a Trump Organization computer server and Russia’s Alfa Bank, which has ties to President Vladimir Putin. These included 2,700 “look-up” messages to initiate communications, and some investigators found all this deeply suspicious. Others thought there might be an innocent explanation, such as spam. We still don’t know.

5. A well-regarded Russia expert formerly with MI6, Christopher Steele, produced a now-famous dossier alleging that Russia made compromising videos of Trump in 2013, and that members of the Trump team colluded with the Kremlin to interfere with the U.S. election.

The dossier quoted a Russian as saying that a deal had been arranged “with the full knowledge and support of Trump” and that in exchange for Russian help, “the Trump team agreed to sideline Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue.” James Clapper, the American former national intelligence director, says he saw no evidence of such collusion but favors an investigation to get to the bottom of it.

6. Trump has expressed a bewilderingly benign view of Russia and appointed officials also friendly to Moscow. He did not make an issue of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during the campaign.

7. A Trump associate, Roger Stone, appeared to have had advance knowledge of Russia’s disclosures through WikiLeaks of Hillary Clinton campaign emails. As early as August, two months before her campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails were released, Stone tweeted: “Trust me, it will soon [be] Podesta’s time in the barrel.” In October, six days before a dump of Clinton campaign emails, Stone tweeted: “Hillary Clinton is done. #Wikileaks.”

8. Sessions seems a red herring, in that he wasn’t a secret conduit to the Kremlin. The more interesting dot is Manafort, whom investigators have focused on because of his longstanding ties to Russia.

9. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia,” Donald Trump Jr. was quoted as saying in 2008. Russia may have gained leverage over Trump through loans to his organization or other business dealings. The way to ease these suspicions would be to examine Trump’s tax returns: Any government investigation that doesn’t obtain Trump’s tax returns simply isn’t a thorough investigation.

10. Even many Republicans acknowledge, as President George W. Bush put it, “We all need answers.” The House and Senate Intelligence Committees mostly operate behind closed doors, while we yearn for transparency. What is desperately needed is an independent inquiry modeled on the 9/11 Commission.

When friends press me about what I think happened, I tell them that my best guess is that there wasn’t a clear-cut quid pro quo between Trump and Putin to cooperate in stealing the election, but rather something more ambiguous and less transactional — partly because Putin intended to wound Clinton and didn’t imagine that Trump could actually win. Yet I wouldn’t be surprised if the Trump team engaged in secret contacts and surreptitious messages, and had advance knowledge of Russia’s efforts to attack the American political process. And that would be a momentous scandal.

One reason I’m increasingly suspicious is Trump’s furious denunciations of the press and of Barack Obama, to the point that he sometimes seems unhinged. Journalists have learned that when a leader goes berserk and unleashes tirades and threats at investigators, that’s when you’re getting close.

What the WikiLeaks document dump tells us about the CIA’s Frankfurt base

The Consulate General of the United States of America is pictured in Frankfurt, Germany March 8, 2017. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski - RTS11XP5

The Consulate General of the United States of America is pictured in Frankfurt, Germany March 8, 2017. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski – RTS11XP5

One of the revelations about the U.S. consulate in Frankfurt, Germany, that has come from the WikiLeaks release of CIA files is that American spies can use the facility for hacking databases that are not connected to the Internet.

The anti-secrecy group’s dump this week of nearly 8,761 CIA files confirmed that the consulate is a base for covert and overt CIA operatives. It also provided a window into how American spies operate in Europe and – most importantly — why Frankfurt has been so valuable for a specialized form of computer espionage.

“Germany is central to the rest of the European Union, which minimizes overall travel time to reach physical locations in any other country there. Since the types of attacks described [in the WikiLeaks documents] required physical access to computers, being able to get there quickly via train or other forms of transportation would be vital,” Nathan Wenzler, chief security strategist at San Francisco-based security consultancy AsTech Consulting, told Fox News.

“Even a one-hour flight to reach a neighboring major city would allow for faster response than, say, a seven-hour flight from the east coast of the U.S,” he said.

“Trying to hack a system that’s connected to the Internet doesn’t really require physical proximity, so, like most nation-state intelligence agencies, it’s easier and more effective to just run those sorts of attacks from within your own borders,” Wenzler said.

“Frankfurt would allow for a more ‘social engineering’ style of hacking, where the agent would need to gain physical access to a system by convincing the people around it to allow the agent to use it. Since that would require moving people around to get to those destinations, having a central location like Frankfurt to use as a hub for your operations just makes logistics more simple and reduces the time needed to execute,” Wenzler added.

The files explain how operatives can get through German customs without delay, including claiming they are with the State Department and are supporting technical consultations at the consulate.

“Breeze through German Customs because you have your cover-for-action story down pat, and all they did was stamp your passport,” the leaked CIA instructions say.

In a report for operatives new to the area, the CIA told operatives how to behave:

“Be aware that your coworkers here are all undercover;

“While cover seems like an administrative thing back home, it is vital in the Field;”

“Help protect everyone’s cover. Avoid using terms outside of the SCIF that could betray that people are not ‘State Department’ employees. Better to keep work discussions at work.”

“Do not leave anything electronic or sensitive unattended in your room.”

Paul Innella, CEO of TDI, a cybersecurity services firm headquartered in Washington, D.C., that works with the U.S. government and private sector clients across the globe, said the leaks have set the CIA back years.

“Things change fast in the cyber world and we need to carry out our missions of intelligence gathering, unencumbered by leaks such as this.”

The CIA won’t respond, the agency’s spokesperson Heather Fritz Horniak said: “We do not comment on the authenticity or content of purported intelligence documents.”

But a number of technology experts, federal law enforcement, and members of Congress believe the documents are authentic.

Germany’s chief federal prosecutor has launched an investigation into the alleged hacking operations, but Innella said the U.S. may have secret agreements with Germany to assist its government, and noted spies and a state-sponsored hacking activity are “effectively untouchable” while in that domain.

The voluminous number of CIA documents represents just 1 percent of what Wikileaks has obtained from the CIA, but has already revealed to the world some of the spy agency’s most prized cyber tools. The CIA has the ability to spy on its targets through their smartphones, computers, and some televisions, and has researched ways to hack into the electrical systems of automobiles. There could be nearly 1 million files and documents yet to be released.

Germans have known since at least 2013 that the Frankfurt facility, the largest US Consulate in the world, is CIA territory. According to German media, DW, the consulate became “the focus of a German investigation into U.S. intelligence capabilities following the 2013 revelation that NSA agents had tapped Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone.”

Malia Zimmerman is an award-winning investigative reporter focusing on crime, homeland security, illegal immigration crime, terrorism and political corruption. Follow her on twitter at @MaliaMZimmerman

WikiLeaks, Donald Tusk, European Central Bank: Your Friday Briefing

Good morning.

Here’s what you need to know:

Photo

CreditChung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

A South Korean court ousted President Park Geun-hye from office, a first in the nation’s history that could reshape the strategic landscape in Asia.

Hundreds of thousands of people had taken to the streets in recent months to protest a sprawling corruption scandal that reached the presidency.

Her downfall is expected to shift South Korean politics to the opposition on the left, whose leaders want more engagement with the North.

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CreditStefan Wermuth/Reuters

Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain is resisting pressure to call an early general election to solidify her Conservative majority in the House of Commons while the opposition is in disarray.

A larger majority would take pressure off Mrs. May in the negotiations to leave the E.U., the result of which Parliament must approve, and allow her to claim her own personal mandate as prime minister. But she has vowed not to hold an election before the next scheduled vote, in May 2020.

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CreditLefteris Pitarakis/Associated Press

• A bitter dispute between Germany and Turkey escalated as leaders in both countries accused the other of acting in bad faith.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has accused Germany of using “Nazi practices” to block him from campaigning among Turks living there for a constitutional referendum at home that would expand his powers. In remarks to Parliament, Chancellor Angela Merkel called the Nazi comparison “sad and incredibly misplaced.”

In Ankara, the prime minister also accused Germany of pushing for the referendum’s defeat, which he said would backfire.

TODAY IN NEW YORK, NYUpdate Location
Much colder; cloudy, then partly sunny
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TOMORROW: 30° 18°View 5-Day Forecast

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CreditWikiLeaks, via Associated Press

The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, moved to seize the moment after his organization released a new trove of classified information about the C.I.A.’s cyberweaponry.

Speaking from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he has sought refuge since 2012, Mr. Assange presented himself as a defender of some of the biggest American technology companies against their own government.

The C.I.A. described Mr. Assange as “not exactly a bastion of truth and integrity.”

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CreditArab 24 network, via Associated Press

The U.S. is sending an additional 400 troops to Syria, nearly doubling the American forces deployed there.

A spokesman for the U.S.-led command said the move was intended to support preparations for an assault on Raqqa, which the Islamic State claims as its capital.

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Business

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CreditDaniel Roland/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

• The European Central Bank held monetary policy steady but faces growing pressure to begin the politically charged task of drawing years of stimulus to a close.

Facebook reported the BBC to the British police after a reporter provided the company with examples of sexualized images of children that had been posted on the social network.

Oil fell below $50 a barrel for the first time since December. Here’s what to make of the volatility.

Chloé, the French fashion label owned by Compagnie Financière Richemont, has named Natacha Ramsay-Levi as creative director.

With Donald J. Trump in the White House, other American executives are asking, why not me?

Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

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In the News

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CreditEric Vidal/Reuters

Donald Tusk, above, was appointed to a second term as president of the European Council, despite objections from his own country, Poland. [The New York Times]

The German police arrested a man in an ax attack that injured seven people at the main train station in Düsseldorf. [The New York Times]

Swiss lawmakers in the upper house voted against a proposal that would ban the niqab and the burqa in public places. [Politico]

The U.S. Justice Department declined to confirm a White House statement that Mr. Trump was not the target of a counterintelligence investigation. [The New York Times]

Jon M. Huntsman Jr. is said to have agreed to be U.S. ambassador to Russia. [The New York Times]

An antiques specialist visiting Blenheim Palace in England discovered an ancient Roman sarcophagus that was being used as a flower pot. [The New York Times]

New research by the British Library suggests that Jane Austen may have died from arsenic poisoning. [The New York Times]

Smarter Living

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CreditCraig Lee for The New York Times

• Prefer cold-brew coffee? Here’s how to do it right.

• Recipe of the day: Treat yourself to the comfort of Swedish meatloaf and caramelized cabbage.

Noteworthy

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CreditChristopher Furlong/Getty Images

In memoriam: Howard Hodgkin, above, a British painter who was one of the most admired artists of the postwar period, has died at 84. And Kurt Moll, a German basso who was his generation’s pre-eminent Baron Ochs in “Der Rosenkavalier,” has died at 78.

• The actor Samuel L. Jackson questioned the casting of the black British actor Daniel Kaluuya over a black American in the comedy-horror film “Get Out.” Here’s what some British minority actors who have worked in the U.S. have to say about the issue.

• Want to get in tune with today’s music? Here’s a curated 25-song playlist featuring Future, Adele, Mitski and more, with essays by some of our best culture writers.

“Countryfile,” a British television show that focuses on rural issues, is wildly popular in a nation where people have a “proprietorial attitude” to the countryside.

Back Story

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CreditElias Williams for The New York Times

In this age of e-readers and Amazon, it might be surprising that an American mail-order book business started nine decades ago is still supplying readers with literary selections.

Before best-seller lists and well-stocked bookstores, the Book of the Month Club tried to steer a growing middle class to the “right” books. Having such titles in the home became a sign of status.

In March 1926, “Lolly Willowes” by the British author Sylvia Townsend Warner was gaining acclaim, and a month later, it became the club’s inaugural pick.

Famously, a panel of literary experts made the choices over lunch and sherry around an oak table. Their credibility built the fledgling club’s membership.

They had hits like “Gone With the Wind” and “The Catcher in the Rye.” One miss was “The Grapes of Wrath.”

While critics viewed the club as middlebrow, it became a powerful literary institution in the U.S. Its influence diminished with the spread of bookstore chains in the 1980s and further declined with online bookselling.

But some of us still want to be guided by their judges. As an early club brochure said, “What a deprivation it is to miss reading an important new book at a time when everyone else is reading and discussing it.”

Adeel Hassan contributed reporting.

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